Dec 15, 2010

 
 
 
A MELBOURNE doll shop has withdrawn a golliwog from its display to avoid offending the Oprah Winfrey roadshow.
The store removed the "Mamee" washer woman dolls after a visit by Oprah's production company.

But the Dafel Dolls and Bears shop in Block Arcade - where 110 of Oprah's guests will attend a cocktail party tomorrow night - will continue to display other golliwogs.
 
The store owner declined to comment because she had signed a confidentiality agreement with Harpo productions, but confirmed a meeting had taken place

Golliwogs are deeply offensive to Americans because of their perceived links to slavery and racism. 
 
"Oprah's people came ... and yes it was discussed," a source familiar with the agreement told the Herald Sun.

"As a result, they won't have that particular doll on display. But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through."

The golliwogs still on display at Dafel's have an explanatory note on the origins of the black dolls, a throwback to the toys enjoyed by Egyptian children when British troops occupied the country in the late 1800s.

Dafel's has sold dolls and toys, including golliwogs, in the Block Arcade since 1945.

Last year Australia faced international condemnation when American singer Harry Connick Jr expressed his shock at Hey Hey It's Saturday for broadcasting a minstrel sketch and asking him to judge the performance.

UK publishing company Macdonalds, which put out the Noddy books featuring a gang of golliwogs, decided in 1987 the dolls were racially derogatory.

But golliwog defenders say they have nothing to do with racism and are seen by children as just bright and friendly dolls.

A spokeswoman for Oprah's Ultimate Adventure declined to comment on the Block Arcade golliwogs.

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